DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - Cincinnati Milacron Inc. formally introduced its Elektra brand of all-electric injection molding ma-chines to Europe at K'95, with a 725-ton press molding vacuum cleaner housings from ABS. Milacron said it sold the machine, the biggest all-electric press ever made, but would not identify the customer. Milacron said it sold a 300-ton Elektra in June.
Milacron's Plastics Machinery Group in Batavia, Ohio, first showed the Elektra at NPE '94 in Chicago. At K'95 in Dusseldorf, the firm exhibited under the banner of its European injection press unit, Ferromatik Milacron Maschinenbau GmbH of Malter-dingen, Germany.
In Germany, Milacron also introduced its new Magna series of Vista hydraulic presses.
Milacron officials continued to predict great things for all-electric machines as an alternative to hydraulic-clamp and toggle-clamp injection presses.
Barr Klaus, director of product development and product management for injection machines, said all-electric injection molding presses could capture half the total market for injection machines in the next decade.
``We could easily be looking at 50 percent of the market being electric in 10 years,'' Klaus said in an interview at Milacron's booth.
For that prediction to come
true, Klaus said, general-purpose molders will have to embrace all-electrics. So far the machines have been most popular with specialty processors such as medical and electronics molders as a quiet, clean-running alternative to hydraulic and toggle machines.
One hurdle is the price. All-electrics cost more - Klaus said a 725-ton electric costs about 15 percent more than the same size hydraulic press of similar capability. Milacron's goal is to reduce the price to equal that of hydraulic machines, but reaching that goal will require a higher production volume, he said.
Benefits of all-electrics include energy savings and quietness.
Feedback from K'95 visitors indicates another benefit - preci-sion - will help sell the Elektra.
``The machine is so rock-solid stable, day-to-day, hour-to-hour, shift-to-shift,'' Klaus said.
Klaus said the strongest penetration in the next 10 years will be in machines with clamping forces less than 1,000 tons. Hydraulics will be tough to beat in machines more than 1,000 tons and in some types of specialized molding, he said.
What does Europe think of the all-electric? The technology will displace some hydraulic presses in applications where power and speed are not critically important, predicted Bernd Knorr, director of the Rubber and Plastics Processing Machinery Division of VDMA, the German trade association for factory equipment.
In the end, processors will decide the fate of all-electrics, said Knorr, who has an engineering background.
``I understand that a machine which has only one type of energy, like electricity, instead of both electricity plus hydraulic, is a better source for maintenance, for expenses and so on. But if you need power and if you need fast reaction, then I think there is no alternative to hydraulic systems,'' he said.
The 725-tonner featured has an injection capacity from 60-77 ounces. On the other end of the scale, Milacron also showed a smaller Elektra with 55 tons of clamping force developed by Ferromatik Milacron in Malter-dingen.
Milacron also used K'95 to introduce its Magna hydraulic machines, in clamping forces of 44, 600, 725 and 850 tons. At K, a German-built 725-ton Magna molded flowerpots using the firm's mono-sandwich process.
Magna features a smaller footprint and separate, rigid I-beam bases for the clamping unit and the injection unit. This modular base design provide open access in the clamping area for parts removal in two directions, Milacron said. The machine has a Camac 486 controller.
In other news, Milacron said it has sold its largest co-injection molding machine, a 2,000 Vista, to an unnamed customer. Each of the injection units has a capacity of 232 ounces.